Dear Bob Dylan,
“Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.”
We are members of an Israeli group called BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within (BfW). We support the Palestinian call for the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel (1) until Palestinians’ most basic human rights are respected:
1. Ending [Israel’s] occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
You have been part of a civil rights movement. You have been able to raise your voice louder than others, you can do it again. We are asking you not to perform in Israel until it respects Palestinian human rights. A performance in Israel, today, is a vote of support for its policies of oppression, whether you intend for it to be that, or not (2). Choosing not to perform will effect over 3 and a half million lives, living under brutal occupation.
As we write this, Israel continues a practice of ethnic cleansing and it is systematically driving its own Palestinian citizens off their lands. Israel is keeping a population of millions under martial-law in the West Bank, and yet another threat of wholesale massacre is looming in Gaza, in the last few days. In the late of night of 21.3.11 the Israeli air force attacked Gaza, bombing the most populated area in the world from the sky. 8 children under the age of 17 lost their lives (3). This is not an out of the ordinary occurrence, or even a rare one. Over half the population of besieged Gaza are minors (under 18 years of age), over a million are registered refugees. They are trapped inside the biggest open-air prison in the world and are under a real and immediate threat of death, as we speak.
In 2005 over 170 (and growing) civil society Palestinian groups came together and signed the BDS call. BDS is a powerful and united civil initiative in the face of a brutal military occupation and apartheid. It’s a nonviolent alternative to a waning armed struggle and it has reaped many successes and instilled much hope, in the past 6 years. BDS is a long process in which those of us who live here are deeply invested in, knowing that there’s a personal price, which non of us could withstand alone. That is why we ask for support from the international community. Your celebrity status affords you a leading role. You may choose to block the halls, or heed the call.
Sincerely on behalf of BfW,